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January 1, 2017

Circumcision of Christ

St. Basil the Great

Colossians 2:8-12: The holy apostle Paul reminds the Colossians that their circumcision is not one made with hands according to the law, but one of the heart, through baptism.

Luke 2:20-21,40-52: In the gospel reading for today we hear of the Christ Child being separated from the Theotokos and Joseph, when He remained behind in the Temple, amazing the teachers with His questions and understanding.

Troparion of the Resurrection: Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad; for the Lord hath done a mighty act with his own arm. He hath trampled down death and become the First-born from the dead. He hath delivered us from the depths of hades, granting the world the Great Mercy.

Troparion of the Circumcision of Christ: Our human form hast Thou taken on Thyself without change, O greatly-compassionate Master, though being God by nature; fulfilling the Law, Thou willingly receives circumcision in the flesh, that Thou mightiest end the shadow and roll away the veil of our sinful passions. Glory be to Thy goodness unto us. Glory be to Thy compassion. Glory, O Word, to Thine inexpressible condescension.

Troparion of St. Basil the Great: Thy sound hath gone forth into all the earth, which hath received thy word. Thereby thou hast divinely taught the Faith; thou hast made manifest the nature of all things that be; thou hast adorned the ways of man. O namesake of the royal priesthood, our righteous Father Basil, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear. We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.

Kontakion of the Circumcision of Christ: The Master of all endureth humiliation and is circumcised for the iniquities of mankind; for he is good, and granteth salvation to the world. And in the highest the High Priest of the Creator, clothed with light, the divine initiate of Christ, Basil, rejoiceth.


Sunday, January 1 (Circumcision of our Lord; St. Basil the Great)

8:50 a.m. — Orthros

9:00 a.m. — Christian Education

10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy


Monday, January 2

Office Closed — Father John’s Day Off

Tuesday, January 3

6:00 a.m. — Daily Orthros

Wednesday, January 4

6:30 p.m. — Daily Vespers

7:15 p.m. — Choir Practice

Thursday, January 5 [STRICT

7:00 a.m. — Royal Hours

6:00 p.m. — Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy

Friday, January 6 (Theophany)

This Feast Day is one of the greatest days of the Christian year. In English, we are accustomed to hearing this Feast Day called “Epiphany,” a word which means “manifestation” or “appearance.” On this day, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist (he is called “the Baptist” because he baptized Christ). Epiphany is also called “Theophany” which means “God shows Himself to us.” The importance of this Feast Day lies in the fact that for the first time the Holy Trinity was revealed for all mankind to know and believe (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). When Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, a voice was heard from the heavens above saying, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” The Father whose voice was heard from the heavens was God. The white dove was the symbol of the Holy Spirit which descended upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thus, we have the Holy Trinity being revealed to all that day, almost 2000 years ago. This is why we call this day the day of illumination (light) and manifestation (appearance). The Holy Trinity made its appearance, and we have been illuminated by this wonderful truth and blessing. On this day we have the traditional blessing of the waters. Since the waters of the Jordan were blessed in the presence of Jesus Christ, it is a source of Divine Grace and blessing, and we bless ourselves and our homes with the waters of the “Sanctification Service” which is held during the Epiphany Services.

Theophany Day is a day of illumination and sanctification. Let us pledge ourselves to a greater participation in the sacramental life of the Church of Christ. When the Priest blesses our homes, let us all pray that the blessing of the Theophany Season be with us throughout the year and may our homes be sanctified with our prayers, Christian living and spiritual direction in our lifetime.

Saturday, January 7 (Synaxis of the Forerunner)

10:00 a.m. — Ladies meet for Akathist

5:45 p.m. — Ninth Hour followed by Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia

Sunday, January 8 (Sunday after Theophany)

8:50 a.m. — Orthros

9:00 a.m. — Christian Education

10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy

4:00 p.m. — Blessing of the Waters at the Ross Barnett Reservoir


Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Dn. Richard Roots for the Divine Liturgy this morning. The Artoklasia Bread for Great Vespers of the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and the Feast of St. Basil the Great was offered last evening by Karen Cooper.

Please be reminded of the following:

Be very careful with the Blessed Bread when you take it after communion. Because this bread has been blessed, we should take care not to let crumbs fall on the floor. Parents, especially, please help your children to choose a small piece and treat it carefully.

Also, at the end of the liturgy, maintain a prayerful disposition during the veneration of the cross as the prayers of thanksgiving after communion are still underway. Please exchange your greetings with each other in the Fellowship Hall during Coffee Hour.

Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule:

Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour

January 1 R. Root Stewart/Turner/Waites

January 5 (Thurs. p.m.) Henderson Georgia Buchanan

(Feast of Theophany)

January 8 Algood Ellis/Zouboukos/Fahmy

January 15 Katool POT LUCK MEAL

(set-up: Pigott/Meadows/Alaeetawi)

January 22 Schelver Skirtech/Skirtech/Parker

January 29 Morris D. Root/Dansereau/Davis

Schedule for Epistle Readers – Page numbers refer to the Apostolos (book of the Epistles) located on the front pew. Please be sure to use this book when you read.

Reader Reading Page#

January 1 Walt Wood Col. 2:8-12 356

January 5 (Thurs. p.m.) Sh. Charlotte Algood Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 361

January 8 Warren Strain Eph. 4:7-13 364

January 15 Kh. Sharon Meadows Acts 12:1-11 50-51

January 22 Mildred Morris I Tim. 4:9-15 252

January 29 Phillip Lasseter II Cor. 6:16-7:1 173

Please continue to pray for the health of His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN.

Please be reminded that the Sacristy/Vestry which is adjacent to and behind the altar in our church is considered by the Orthodox Church to be part of the Sanctuary (Altar area) and should not be entered without the blessing of the priest for a specific purpose. If you need to speak with a member of the clergy while they are in the Sanctuary, please ask them to come to you in the nave.

Please remember the following in your prayers: Steve, Sheryl Chamblee; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit and Sammie; Georgia Buchanan, George Johns (Georgia’s grandson) and his family; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon’s sister); Fr. Stephen Tewfik; Walt and Charlotte Wood and their family; Lynda Costas; Kevin and Angelina Speier; Tom and Kathy Willingham.

Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.

Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.

Pledge Letters have been mailed. Please fill yours out and return it to the office as soon as possible.

Chanters’ Stand: We are looking into the purchase of a Chanters’ Stand for the church. The ones that are currently under consideration are carved and are similar to the beautiful tables in the nave and narthex. The cost would be somewhere between $2000 and $4000. We are soliciting donations to cover the cost. If you would like to participate, please let Fr. John know.

Calendar Items:

* The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month.

* The Ladies of St. Peter will meet at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children.

* The men of the parish will meet at the church once each quarter for a Saturday morning Father-Son Prayer Breakfast.

* We will celebrate the Feast of Theophany with Royal Hours on Thursday, January 5th, beginning at 7:00 a.m. We will have Orthros for the Feast followed by Divine Liturgy that evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

* Our annual Blessing of the Waters will take place on Sunday, January 8th at the Old Trace Park at the Ross Barnett Reservoir, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

* The MS Valley Deanery will hold its annual Teen Retreat February 3-5, 2017 at Camp Hopewell in Oxford, MS. Fr. Daniel Bethancourt, Retreat Master this year, will be addressing issues related to self-esteem. Please mark your calendars now.

Fasting Discipline for January

From December 25th through January 4th, there is no abstinence of any kind and all types of food are permitted. The forefeast of Theophany (January 5th) is observed as a strict fast day (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil). The traditional fasting discipline is observed on the remaining Wednesdays and Fridays of the month.

Major Commemorations for January

January 1 Circumcision of Christ; St. Basil the Great

January 6 Theophany

January 7 Synaxis of the Forerunner

January 11 Theodosios the Head of Monasteries

January 16 The Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter

January 18 Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria

January 20 Euthymios the Great

January 25 Gregory the Theologian

January 27 John Chrysostom

January 30 The Three Hierarchs

January 31 Cyros and John the Unmercenary Healers

Burial and Funeral Care Instructions forms: These forms are located on the bureau in the hallway outside the nave. There are two forms: one for the church and one for the family (with a copy given to the church). Please fill out your forms and return to the office as soon as possible.

Please be sure to have your forms notarized. The forms will be kept in a file in the office so that we have your instructions should the need arise.

Quotable: “The latter passage should be interpreted within the context of the former one and in relationship to all of St. Basil’ teaching. The nous which is scattered outwards and diffused through the senses into the world is sick, fallen, prodigal. It must return from its diffused state to its union with and in the heart, its natural state, and then be united with God. Illumined by the uncreated Light (the state of theosis), the nous neglects even its nature, and the soul is not preoccupied with clothing and shelter. This does not mean that man does not care about food, etc. But, because man has attained to the state of theoria (vision of God) and theosis, his bodily forces—not those of the soul—are in a state of suspension; in other words, the soul and nous are not subjugated by the influences of the world and material things. Mani is, of course, concerned about them, yet he is not enslaved by them. Additionally, St. Basil the great clearly states that by this movement of the nous’ return within the heart, virtue as a whole is acquired: prudence, bravery, justice, wisdom, along with all the other virtues.”

Metropolitan HIEROTHEOS of Nafpaktos , Orthodox Spirituality

Worship: Sunday, January 8, 2017 (Sunday after Theophany)

Scripture: Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17

Celebrant: Father John

Epistle Reader: Warren Strain

Prosphora: Algood

Coffee Hour: Ellis/Zouzboukos/Fahmy